Reich Concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich (July 20, 1933)
Although the Catholic Church represented only a third of the German population, the Nazi regime saw it as a particular challenge. On a political level, Catholic interests were traditionally represented by the Center Party. Moreover, as an international institution, the church rested upon a considerable power base. The following Reich Concordat, which was supposed to regulate the relationship between the German Reich and the Catholic Church, was signed by representatives of both entities on July 20, 1933, and ratified on September 10 of the same year. The Vatican, which sympathized with the Nazi regime’s anti-liberal, anti-Communist stance, hoped that by withdrawing from all political areas it could buy a legal guarantee of its special institutional rights – i.e., self-administration and confessional freedom. Although the Nazi regime had no intention of keeping its contractual obligations, it did appreciate the international prestige this agreement brought and hoped that it would placate the Catholic Church for the time being.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz